Do not speak the name of other gods? (Ex. 23:13) But each day of our week is named after a god: Sun-day, Moon-day, Teu's day, Woden's day, Thor's day, Frea's day, Saturn's day. And YHVH Himself often speaks the names of foreign gods! But the Hebraic view of this verse actually says "don't remember" (or act upon) the "name" (or character) of their names. So, we should read, "don't act like the other gods' characters."
"It is a most reassuring and reinforcing experience to the child of G-d to discover that there is, even in the dark valley, a source of strength and courage to be found in G-d. It is when one can look back over life and see how the Shepherd's hand has guided and sustained one in the darkest hours, that renewed faith is engendered." Phillip Keller
Rabbi Judah (2nd Century CE student of R. Akiva in the tradition of Hillel) wrote a hymn, Shir Hakavod (the song of glory), that is still sung weekly in many Jewish services. One line speaks of how indescribable God is, "I tell of Your glory though I have not seen You. I imagine You, and I call You by name, though I know You not." How difficult it is to describe God... mystery and infinity lie at the heart of faith.
"God works by paradox. Success comes via failure; life springs out of death and so on. The only element in the believer's life that crumbles is that which has to go away - the new life can never be harmed or affected. This disintegration is something the believer cannot enter into nor engineer on his own - self will never cast out self." Be encouraged, as He is there always.
"Near and Far", by Tzvi Freeman: "He hides; we must search for Him. He is here now; our hearts may speak to Him. He is distant; we are small and insignificant. He is close, we are His children, his beloved, his joy. Indeed, He does not fit into our neat cubbyholes of close or distant, of hidden or present. He is all of these, all in perfect oneness."
G-d is found at two poles of Time. He is found outside Time and beyond time. He is found here within the moment, now. He looked upon a moment in time and saw us, distant from Him in a turbulent world, yet yearning to return to Him. So He invested His infinite light into a finite image, and became one with that image, thus opening the way for each one of us. Selah.
As a father stoops down to his child with such love, leaving his many years of maturity and experience behind to enter into his child's world: his language, games, pain, upsets, uncertainties and excitement of the little things – how much more then, that G-d feels our pain and our joy. He stoops down to live in intimacy with us in our world, and yet remains infinite, beyond all things – the Creator of the Universe.
'Did God desire the Holocaust? Ask the question another way: Did God desire the death of his own Son? At the instant of pain, it may seem impossible to imagine that good can come from tragedy... We never know in advance exactly how suffering can be transformed into a cause for celebration. But that is what we are asked to believe. Faith means believing in advance what will only make sense in reverse.' P Yancey
"Not with toil and not with struggle, but by the word of His mouth did the One Above create His world. Not with toil and not with struggle, but with words of wisdom and kindness does He require we sustain it. If so, what is the effort He demands from us? That we invest our very essence in His Word, as He invested His very essence within this world He made." Amen and amen.
'Holy is the way God is. To be holy He does not conform to a standard. He is absolutely holy with an infinite, incomprehensible fullness of purity that is incapable of being other than it is. Because He is holy, all His attributes are holy; that is, whatever we think of as belonging to God must be thought of as holy. He has made holiness the moral condition necessary to the health of His universe.' A.W Tozer
And now for a lighter moment... A boy is sat at his desk drawing a picture. His teacher says, "What's that you're drawing?" The boy replies, "It's God." "But no one knows what God looks like", says the teacher. "Of course," says the boy, "I haven't finished drawing the picture yet".
"G-d has revealed Himself in a written Word, in classical communication. Closeness to G-d requires recapturing a reading and meditative ability that our culture has lost. Our mass media culture produces shallow people who cannot think for themselves, who are easily manipulated. This culture is opposed to the values of the Word of G-d." Dan Juster, Jewish Roots, p242.
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